Firefighters want traffic control system
Firefighters Want System To Control Traffic Lights
December 6, 2002
Collier County, FL : When minutes can mean the difference between life and death, firefighters and EMS crews need to respond quickly. But they say Southwest Florida’s heavy traffic frequently slows their response times.
“It takes twice as long to get to an incident, from 3:30 to 6 o’clock it’s a real bear,” said Captain Brian Loewel of the North Naples Fire Department.
According to Loewel, one of the biggest problems is gridlock around traffic lights. When the signal’s red, traffic can’t move and emergency vehicles can’t get through.
Now, Collier County’s fire and EMS departments want to install devices that will allow the drivers of emergency vehicles to take control of traffic lights. Firefighters say with a push of a button the system can save time and lives. “If we could go down the highway and every single light we see turns into a green light, then it just makes our job easier,” said Loewel.
County officials say the system would cost about $750,000 to install in every traffic light and emergency vehicle. The fire districts would have to agree to pay that price; they would also have to agree on what systems to buy since they aren’t all compatible. Firefighters say despite the cost, the system is worth it.
“If you can save a life, even one life by having that on there, I think it’s a pretty important thing,” said Loewel. Emergency workers hope to start installing the system within a year from now.
For now, firefighters encourage all motorists to move away from approaching emergency vehicles. However, they discourage drivers from running traffic lights. Fire officials say that could lead to an accident and that’s the last thing they want when responding to an emergency.
Story from http://www.winktv.com/